GlobeLand30 is the world’s first global land cover dataset at 30 m resolution for two epochs, i.e., 2000 and 2010. On the official website, the data are represented by qualitative thematic maps which show the distribution of global land cover, and some proportional symbol maps which are quantitative representations of land cover data. However, researchers have also argued that the cartogram, a kind of value-by-area representation, has some advantages over these maps in some cases, while others doubt their usability because of the possible distortion in shape. This led us to conduct an experimental evaluation of the usability of the cartogram for the representation of GlobeLand30. This experimental evaluation is a comparative analysis between the cartogram and the proportional symbol map to examine which is more effective in various kinds of quantitative analyses. The results show that the thematic map is better than the cartogram for the representation of quantity (e.g., area size), but the cartogram performs better in the representation of tendency distribution and areas’ multiple relationships. The usability of the cartogram is notably affected by map projection and the irregularity in area shapes, but the equal-area projection does not necessarily perform better than equidistance projection, especially at high latitudes.
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